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PNC Financial to Strengthen IR Division With Trout Buyout

Zacks Equity Research

PNC Bank, the banking services arm of The PNC Financial Services Group PNC, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Trout Group, LLC. The acquisition, which is subject to necessary approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of December 2017.

Trout Group is an investor relations (IR) and strategic advisory firm, providing services to the healthcare industry. With a workforce of more than 30 professionals, it currently serves about 80 clients from the fields of life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical device.

Also, the company is known for organizing conferences and thought leader events that are attended by key global stakeholders from the life sciences industry. PNC Financial expects to benefit from Trout Group’s corporate access in the life sciences space. 

Terms of the Acquisition

Upon completion of the acquisition, Trout Group will be merged with Solebury Communications. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PNC Financial providing IR and strategic communications services across multiple industry sectors.

With more than 60 professionals, the combined firm will be renamed Solebury Trout Communications.

It will retain the Founder/CEO of Trout Group, Jonathan Fassberg. He will work alongside Solebury Communications' Co-CEOs Jeff Grossman and Lisa Wolford to jointly lead the combined company. They would report to Solebury's Executive Committee, consisting of Alan Sheriff, Ted Hatfield and Victor Cohn.

Motive Behind the Acquisition

The acquisition is in line with PNC Financial’s aim to provide long-term relationship-based advice to clients through a major communications and advisory practice firm.

Solebury is strengthening its Corporate Communications practice to offer strategic solutions to private and public company clients preparing for capital raising or are exposed to business-related communications challenges and opportunities.

Shares of PNC Financial have gained 13.4% year to date, outperforming 9.3% growth of the industry it belongs to.

Currently, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked banking stocks are First Internet Bancorp INBK, First Commonwealth Financial Corporation FCF and Eagle Bancorp EGBN. All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

First Internet Bancorp’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised slightly upward in the last 60 days. The company’s share price has risen almost 43%, over the past six months.

First Commonwealth Financial’s current-year earnings estimates have been revised 2.5% upward over the last 60 days. Also, its shares have gained 15% in the past six months.

Eagle Bancorp’s Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has moved 2.5% up over the last 60 days. In the past six months, its share price has rallied 13.9%.

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